Slipknot Devastates COTA

Iowa’s malevolent sons blaze and burn

Every touring act plays up the Keep Austin Weird schtick – in a pandering way. For Slipknot, it’s thrown down as a challenge. “Wanna get weird with me, motherfuckers?” leered frontman Corey Taylor from under his dead skin mask to a packed Circuit of the Americas on Wednesday night.

Lamb of Geyser: Randy Blythe (Photo by Gary Miller)

“Nine dudes. Masks. Garbage cans. Piss.”

Opening, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe summed up the psychotic appeal of the world’s second biggest metal band (under the ne plus ultra Metallica) before ripping through “Ruin” from 2003 breakout release As the Palaces Burn. Apt choice. The song’s thematic riffing on cults, accompanied by visuals of snake handlers, Jim Jones, and televangelists, hints at the headliner’s deliberately twisted appeal.

Not that LoG are shabby, plus they know how to play to the local crowd. The Virginia power machine made the obligatory Texas shout-out to Dimebag Darrell before “Rednecks,” offered a coincidental Austin nod in “512” from this year’s VII: Sturm und Drang (Blythe’s cell number during his stay in Prague’s notorious Pankrác Prison), and a more deliberate local reference when the singer instructed the audience to “listen to Krigblast.”

Ultimately, Lamb of God remains the same: a superior, refined, modern thrash band.

Photo by Gary Miller

Slipknot, they’re the Pixies of metal. Substitute loud-quiet-loud for fast-breakneck-fast. That extends to the bandmembers as well.

SXSW 2012, Moonshine Grill: Shawn Crahan, aka Clown, is talking about his art, photography, and the decaying iconography of Slipknot. Drive and intensity so furious, his bulky frame vibrates like a hummingbird. Hands calloused from years of slamming drums and beer kegs with a baseball bat, he hammers me with eye contact as he talks about his outsider artist status, his near-accidental discovery of symbolism and semiotics, and his instinctual communication with his beloved maggots – the name of Slipknot’s massive fan base.

Onstage, that intensity becomes eerie. On the more capacious COTA lawns, Crahan’s magnetic charisma is still there as he sways on his elevated percussion perch. Dressed as Satan’s favorite sailor, he sways and staggers as if hypnotized by the madness, barely even flinching as Sid Wilson flies over his head to his turntables.

And it’s all his mad circus creative vision, from the first flames that engulf the drum risers during the intro, to the final closing curtains, stamped with the band’s barbed wire “S.”

Photo by Gary Miller

Although it may slip past casual observers, the drummer’s more pivotal than the singer. That said, no one works harder than the frontman. Every time Taylor reared back for another scream, a cascade of sweat gushed down his jacket from inside the folds of his mask. Even with a slightly shredded voice – last night notched the antepenultimate date of the Summer’s Last Stand trek through America’s dustiest bowls – his emotional connection of hate, misery, and empathy still roils with multiple mosh pits.

After so many fears of implosion, the nine are whole again. The new backline of Jay “son of Max” Weinberg and bassist Alessenadro Venturella firmly integrate into the ’Knot sound, although the second generation drummer seemingly abandoned some of his predecessor Joey Jordison’s nervous tic fills. “Psychosocial” highlighted the interweaving guitars of Jim Root and the brutally under-rated Mick Thomson through interlocking solos, which revealed the real trick of the whole show.

Mick Thomson (Photo by Gary Miller)

Jim Root (Photo by Gary Miller)

For most bands, nine members would be an indulgence. For Slipknot, it’s a necessity for the density and texture of sound. There are points when only three drummers, two guitarists, two vocalists, samples, keyboards, and bass will do what they need to do.

And that’s devastate.

Set-list, 9.2.15, Circuit of the Americas

“XIX” [intro]
“Sarcastrophe”
“The Heretic Anthem”
“Psychosocial”
“The Devil in I”
“AOV”
“Frail Limb Nursery”
“Purity”
“Wait and Bleed”
“Killpop”
“Before I Forget”
“The Blister Exists”
“Duality”
“The Negative One”
“Spit it Out”
“Custer”

Encore

“[sic]”
“People=Shit”
“Surfacing”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Slipknot
Blurred Lines
Blurred Lines
Robin Thicke & John Beckwith aren’t the only acts sharing song titles

Abby Johnston, Aug. 29, 2013

Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players to Perform at SXSW
Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players to Perform at SXSW
Lottery system for mega SXSW showcases confirms all-star act

Kevin Curtin, March 4, 2013

More Lamb of God
Metallurgy
Lamb of God

Raoul Hernandez, Aug. 10, 2012

Metallurgy
Lamb of God
Hourglass (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, June 18, 2010

More by Richard Whittaker
One in a Crowd: Vulcan Video Needs Your Help
One in a Crowd: Vulcan Video Needs Your Help
Keep the tapes rolling at Austin's VHS and DVD institution

May 23, 2019

RTX Orders a <i>Stuber</i>
RTX Orders a Stuber
Rooster Teeth snags special screening of the SXSW favorite

May 23, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Slipknot, Lamb of God, Randy Blythe, Corey Taylor, Shawn Crahan, Jay Weinberg, Max Weinberg, Alessenadro Venturella, Metallica

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle